Verizon said it’s adding more than 1,000 positions at its nationwide retail stores. It’s specifically looking for new retail employees who are early adopters of technology — such as gamers.
Verizon has about 1,500 corporate stores, but if its dealer-owned stores are included in the count, it has about 7,000 stores in total.
Steve Van Dinter, director of communications at Verizon, said, “These are all new positions and are for our corporate store locations.”
He added, “Also, we had no store closures or job cuts over the past year due to the pandemic.”
Jeff Moore, principal at Wave7 Research, questioned Verizon’s accounting. He noted that in early 2021, Verizon shifted retail jobs to online customer service centers and offered severance packages to some retail employees.
“The restructuring that Verizon undertook at retail back in January resulted in a lot of indirect account-function positions eliminated and some managers suddenly managing two stores,” said Moore. “That certainly amounted to a reduction in the body count.”
Wave7 Research has also found that the percentage of Verizon retail transactions done online has greatly increased during the last year, due to the pandemic. “That said, we are seeing nearly all Verizon stores now open,” said Moore.
Beth Allen, communications director with the Communications Workers of America, said in an email to Fierce, “Our research team took a look at the [Verizon] job postings and found that nearly 60% of the listings are for part-time jobs.”
Allen added, “Workers at Verizon Wireless stores are under tremendous pressure to generate sales, and their income can be unpredictable. Because of Verizon Wireless’s ongoing anti-union campaign, employees have not had a free and fair choice to join a union and, as a result, they do not have a say in their working conditions.”
Verizon’s announcement about 1,000 new retail jobs comes just before its Annual Meeting of Shareholders tomorrow.
Among the items to be voted on is a proposal to restrict golden parachute payments to Verizon executives. The proposal was made by Jack Cohen, chairman of the Association of BellTel retirees.
Speaking with Fierce, Cohen said, “Seventy-six percent of all our members have shares in Verizon. It’s not to our advantage that the company go under. We want to see it successful. But you have these run-away, gargantuan severance packages in an environment where people are waiting hours for boxes for food. All we’re saying is that boundaries should be set up.”
Michelle Loeb, a lawyer for the BellTel group, said in an email, “Both AT&T and General Electric held their proxy votes in the last week or so, and they voted to reject proposed executive compensation packages, which in itself is quite rare. Perhaps ballooning executive compensations packages aren’t a good look in light of the coronavirus pushing regular people onto bread lines.”
For tomorrow’s vote, the BellTel retirees’ proposal has the backing of the Institutional Shareholder Services organization.
Questioning employee head counts
Meanwhile, people are questioning the telecommunications companies about their promises of more jobs.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that T-Mobile’s head count dropped over the past year. T-Mobile reported 75,000 full-time and part-time equivalent workers at the end of 2020, roughly 5,000 fewer than it had when it closed its merger with Sprint in mid-2020.
When T-Mobile was arguing its case for the purchase of Sprint, its executives, led by then CEO John Legere, repeatedly claimed that the company would be “jobs-positive from Day One.”
The company’s current CEO Mike Sievert told the WSJ that Covid put a damper on hiring, and he said the company has 6,000 open positions right now.
At the same time, T-Mobile recently raised its estimates on “merger synergies” from $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion for this year. Granted, merger synergies don’t necessarily mean layoffs. Other factors will save money for T-Mobile, such as decommissioning unnecessary Sprint towers.